The Brooklyn Museum's Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden features an array of salvaged sculpture that managed to triumph over the wrecking ball. The preserved work on view points back through time to sculpture's architectural prominence before the advent of Modernism, when it was as bountiful on building facades as in museums.
Beyond the significance of individual works, the collection as a whole demonstrates the Museum's agile response to the destruction of architectural treasures even before the historic preservation movement reached its stride in the late 1960s. As public appreciation of architectural ornament and sculpture has grown, the Museum's collection has served not only as an archive of historic objects, but also as a welcoming outdoor installation beloved by visitors.
The caption on the second photo informs us that the incredible 1910 sculpture from the former Penn Station was donated to the museum from Lipsett Demolition Co. and Youngstown Cartage, showing that even garbage haulers recognized the importance of great art as the city's moguls trashed New York's treasures.
The for-profit business Irreplaceable Artifacts used to salvage similar architectural treasures out of its Houston St. location. Ironically, we watched that building knocked down with all of its artifacts inside, after it was deemed structurally unsound and half-collapsed.
Plenty more pictures and historical context at Forgotten-NY.com. Thanks to wallyg for tagging his Brooklyn Museum pictures "gothamist".